Every manufacturer, creator and designer wants the fruits of their creativity to be enjoyed by others and themselves for as long as possible. This is why there is a perpetual chase toward working with more durable materials and creating items using methods that extend their durability, utility and aesthetic appearance.
In the arts and crafts industry, bringing art to life through the use of color has been a cornerstone of design ever since the discovery of art itself. Unfortunately, time and the elements break down the paint (peeling, chipping, fading) reducing the appeal of the original state. Applying paint on metals was especially challenging, since most metal surfaces do not easily bond with the types of materials paint is made from. The saving grace for this came in the form of powder coating.
What is Powder Coating?
Powder coating is the application of a layer (coating) onto a metal surface to achieve a desired effect, such as protecting the metal or improving its appearance. The invention of powder coating is much more innovative than it may seem because it applies the principle of physics: electromagnetism.
Just like the north and south poles on magnets, objects/surfaces with a positive or negative charge will have an attractive force with other objects with an opposite charge. Powder coating utilizes this by electrically charging the powder, making them stick much more strongly to the metal surface (grounded, to prevent static discharge or electrocution). After the coating has been applied, the metal is put through a treatment process that involves heating, which helps it bind tighter to the surface.
Some Differences between Powder Coating and Paint
There are several major differences between paint and powder coating. They include:
- Powder coating (as the name implies) is in the form of powder, against liquid form for paints.
- The method. Applying powder coating requires the use of an electrostatic/cornea gun that sprays the charged powder on the metallic surface.
- Powder coating can only be used on metallic surfaces.
- Powder coating does not require a solvent, the liquid used to keep paint in its liquid form.
- Mixing and color matching. Mixing blue and yellow paints will give a green paint, and you are free to set the ratios for the final color intended. Powder coating is made up of tiny solid particles, that even when mixed will not blend into a single color. Mixing two powder coatings will instead give a speckled effect, which is still a pleasing art effect.
Benefits of Powder Coating for Metal Arts and Crafts
With the availability of tons of metal annually being extracted from the earth, artists worldwide quietly celebrated, for now they had one more medium to express their art on. Metalworking and metal-based art has seen a significant rise in popularity for various reasons (the sheen of metallic surfaces, durability over other materials) over time, and so has the demand to have these new ‘canvases’ colored.
Using powder paints for metal arts and crafts presents several benefits to both the artist and their audience, which include:
The metal is protected.
Since powder coating bonds so well, the metal wins a shield, making it more durable, protecting it from corrosion, rust, scratching, and chipping.
Colors stay bright and vibrant for longer.
Powder coating pigments do not easily decay from exposure to the elements, helping art maintain its aesthetic appeal for longer.
A large number of paints are made from substances that have negative effects on the environment, (such as volatile organic compounds) with some even being poisonous to humans over long periods of time. Powder coating contains none of these toxic materials, -but caution should be taken not to breathe in the powder directly.
Unlike paints, powder coating does not chip or flake once dry, and does not need to be reapplied as often. This is crucial for art, making it possible to maintain the artist’s original design.
Painting is often messy work, even without accidental spills. Left open too long, a can of paint can dry up and become unusable. Powder coating is easier to handle with the powder held in a canister, and only be usable from the cornea gun.
Powder coating manufacturers are aware that powders don’t mix to make new colors, and have accommodated for this by creating a very large selection of colors to pick from, with some infusing different materials in the powder for a fresh design effect. This goes a step further by giving artists options to use color differently, e.g., creating speckled designs.
Looking for Marvelous Metal Artwork?
Tahoe Metal Designs is an American, family-owned company that takes metal art to heart. We custom-make and design metal arts and crafts for homes and businesses in a variety of sizes and uses. Already have a piece you would like to have colored? Reach out to us and we can get that powder coating done for free! Visit our homepage and get a look at our catalogue covering the services we offer, pieces up for grabs, and get to hear from our clients as well. We look forward to hearing from you and working to turn any metal heap into amazing artwork.